Western idaho college department of student life web site advisory committee report
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Western Idaho College, Department of Student Life ~ Web site Advisory Committee Report. Imagine one-click access to all your student affairs needs… Committee members: Roxanne Cartwright Shannon Gary Amy Hecht Elizabeth Morris J. Matthew Hartley (faculty advisor)

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Western idaho college department of student life web site advisory committee report l.jpg

Western Idaho College, Department of Student Life ~Web site Advisory Committee Report

Imagine one-click access to all your student affairs needs…

Committee members:

Roxanne Cartwright

Shannon Gary

Amy Hecht

Elizabeth Morris

J. Matthew Hartley (faculty advisor)

(of the University of Pennsylvania ~ Graduate School of Education)

StudentAffairs.com Virtual Case Study Competition 2003


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Table of Contents

  • Why have a Student Life site?

  • Student Life philosophy

  • Why change the site?

  • Recommended modifications to current site

  • Implementations to add to site

  • Other Recommendations

  • What these changes will accomplish

  • Sources of Information


Why have a student life site l.jpg

Students expect advanced technology to be used throughout the college experience

College homepage does not necessarily provide the information our students require (and in some instances the homepage should not)

By providing students with a more comprehensive website we will be aiding in their self development and will support the College’s mission to promote intellectual and technological development

Today’s students have “grown up digital” and are accustomed to the convenience offered by consumer oriented websites

Why have a Student Life site?


Our philosophy l.jpg
Our Philosophy the college experience

The Student Life department at Western Idaho College serves…

  • To aid students in the development of leadership, social, and moral skills

  • To provide safe activities while encouraging students to explore new ideas and exposing them to diverse experiences

  • To maintain a welcoming environment for all members of the WIC community

    Through the development of a comprehensive web site, we strive toprovide current students with the ability to access all information that will aid in the management and development of their undergraduate experience. We further intend for our site to serve as a point of entry and orientation for prospective students. Through the site we will present an accurate and informative view of what it means to be a student at Western Idaho College.


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So... Why change the current site? the college experience

  • To create a web site that is more personal and applicable to WIC students’ experiences

    • Identify what is meant by “we” and “us”

    • Post headlines are directly relevant to institution and its students rather than newsclicker.com headlines

  • Design needs improvement

    • Provide more pertinent information in an aesthetically pleasing manner

    • Offer resources above and beyond information that can be found in print

    • Encompass all aspects of Student Life

    • Provide incentive and purpose for students to access and reuse site

  • Increase regular maintenance

    • Some pages have not been updated for years

    • Routinely check to be sure links are active and websites are functional (e.g. Career Services, Residential Life)


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Modifications the college experiencefor current site

  • Have a “Student Life home” link & a “WIC home” link on each page

  • Move “Quick Links” to bottom of the page & keep consistent with links listed on left sidebar

    • E.g. Residence Life vs. Residence Information

  • Large header not necessary on each page; tends to overwhelm a page

    • If necessary to include header, only have on department homepage... On subsequent pages, only use smaller, circular “WIC” logo for consistency and maintenance of “brand-name” identity

  • Directly link each policy heading to its corresponding policy and have a “return to top” link


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Modifications the college experiencecont’d.

  • Create a calendar page rather than posting upcoming events on department homepage

    • Include activities from all over campus & the community

    • Provide ability for students to electronically submit events

  • Remove “Mission & Program” page

    • Post Student Affairs department’s philosophy rather than mission of the College

    • Specify what is meant by “program”

  • Tone and Language of site should be intentionally positive as opposed to unintentionally negative toward institution

    • Remove the “We are up on the web, finally...” statement. It states the obvious and implies that being small is a negative attribute of the school

    • Do not advertise the controversy surrounding your mascot, instead encourage students to attend the games and support the athletics team


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Modifications the college experiencecont’d.

  • Headlines on homepage are a good idea but should be more relevant to the college and students

    • Use headlines from the campus newspaper and/or community paper and include links to access these papers online

  • Use simple and clear language, but not too simple (i.e. do NOT use the word “stuff” – it is too vague and makes dept. sound ignorant)

  • Update page regularly and on a timely basis

    • Once any updates to the site are completed all related html tags should reflect those updates (e.g. should not be pages with updates dating back to 2000 and others in 2002)


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New Ideas for the college experienceImplementations

  • Provide comprehensive list of Student Life staff members, including contact info (with email link), titles, pictures, and primary responsibilities

    • Will allow for students to easily find the proper contact for a given situation

  • Have contact information for relevant staff

    • E.g. Residence Life page have information for Office of Housing, Student Life home page have information of Office of Student Life

  • Improve Residence Life page to be up-to-date and informative

    • Include information about each dorm, RA’s, and other residential staff

    • Install mechanism through which students can file dorm maintenance requests online

  • Add welcoming message from the Director of Student Life


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Implementations the college experiencecont’d.

  • Provide a page specifically for student activities

    • Contain a list of all student activities & organizations on campus, sorted according to interest type (e.g. community service, athletics, etc.)

    • Include group information such as President contact information and link to the corresponding web site

  • Explain how students can participate in all events publicized on website

    • E.g. The homepage advertises “Ski Week in Idaho.” How can students participate? Who is in charge? How much does it cost? Etc.

  • Create a page with event planning procedures and information

    • Offer downloadable and/or online registration and request forms for on campus space

    • Develop downloadable planning guide with information on rules, etc.


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Implementations the college experiencecont’d.

  • Throughout the website, display images of WIC students participating in the College community

    • Pictures should be somewhat relevant to the page (e.g. football game on the athletics page)

  • Support the needs of disabled patrons by providing a text-only version that adequately conveys all the information

  • Provide ability to report technical problems with the site

    • Locate discreetly at the bottom of each page in conjunction with the “last updated...” information

    • Clearly announce any scheduled network down times & maintenance

  • Install a web-cam in a heavily used student area for prospective students to view student life at Western Idaho in real-time

    • And/OR include a virtual tour of campus with current student “hosting” for prospective students to see campus & “meet” students


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Implementations the college experiencecont’d.

  • Provide a link to student radio station for current students, prospective students and alumni to listen to live streaming audio of the campus station

  • Provide useful information regarding other aspects of campus that may not technically fall under “Student Life” but are crucial factors in a student’s life

    • E.g. Career Services; Counseling & Support Services; Academic Services; Financial Services; Student Employment Office; Student Health Services

    • Link directly to relevant and useful sites within the College or external to the school, Not necessary to “reinvent the wheel”

      • E.g. University of Oregon’s “College Outcomes Project”

    • If necessary to build sites on these areas, include innovative tools that go beyond physical brochures simply typed in

      • E.g. B.Y.U.’s Future Salary Calculator & Lifestyle Management tool; Oregon State University’s “Online Writing lab”


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Implementations the college experiencecont’d.

  • Encourage school spirit by playing school’s fight song upon opening athletics page; Include printed lyrics and downloadable audio clip

  • Encourage students’ continued use of the site and/or support of athletics by offering various incentives

    • E.g. Online drawing for entry to contests at sporting events (will encourage use of site as well as attendance at athletic events)

  • Conduct regular assessment of site (& Student Life department in general)

    • Through semesterly online survey of students, conducted by staff (entry into raffle for bookstore certificate for all who participate)

    • Use a hit counter to monitor the amount of visitors to the site (can be hidden or available for all to see)


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Other Recommendations the college experience

  • While it is not the responsibility of the Student Life department to design and assess the mission of the College, the mission reflects the goals and objectives of all departments and should be written in a coherent and comprehensive manner

  • A list of recommendations should be presented to the senior administration regarding Western Idaho’s mission, e.g.:

    • Address who the institution wishes to serve in the first paragraph (e.g. a diverse student population, adult learners, continuing education students, etc., which are not mentioned until later in the statement)

    • Use the second paragraph to state the diverse education we wish to provide to these students (which is also not mentioned until the end of the statement, yet applies to all students)


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What will these the college experiencechanges accomplish?

  • Convenience

    • One-stop center online for student needs

  • Encourage & Increase Student Participation in Campus Life

    • Increase School Spirit & Pride

  • Provide a Beneficial Resource for Students

  • Efficiency

    • Easy access to information


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Sources of Information the college experience

  • Abowitz, R. (2002) “Using the Web to Support Residence Life Staff and Programs” NASPA Conference 2002

  • Barratt, W., et.al. (2003) “Developing Effective Student Affairs Web Sites” Pre-Conference Workshop, ACPA 2003 http://wbarratt.indstate.edu/desaws/default.htm

  • Blimling, G. (2000) “New Technologies, Changing how we work with students” About Campus Vol. 5, Issue 4, pgs. 3-7

  • Brown, J. S. (2000) “Growing Up Digital.” Change 32(2): 10-20.

  • Burnett, D. (2002) “Innovation in student services: Best practices and process innovation models and trends” Innovation in student services: Planning for models blending high touch/high tech, Ann Arbor, MI: Society for College and University Planning, pgs. 3-14


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Sources cont’d. the college experience

  • Conway, J. (2002) “The Challenge of Connection: Providing Student Services for Online Learners” NASPA Conference 2002

  • Junco, R. (2002) “Web (R)evolution: Making Web Sites Accessible and Usable for All Students” NASPA Conference 2002

  • Kruger, K., (2000) “Designing Campus Portals – From a Student Affairs Perspective” NetResultshttp://www.naspa.org/netresults/PrinterFriendly.cfm?ID=42

  • Kuh, G., Hu, S. (2001) “The Relationships Between Computer and Information Technology Use, Selected Learning and Personal Development Outcomes, and Other College Experiences” Journal of College Student Development Vol. 42, No. 3, pgs. 217-232


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Sources cont’d. the college experience

  • Lewis, J., et.al. (2001) “College [email protected]: A Study of Comfort and the Use of Technology” Journal of College Student Development Vol. 42, No. 6, pgs. 625-631

  • Parsons, A., Hernandez, J. (2003) “Creating Student Centered Web pages for Incoming and New Students” http://studentaffairs.com/ejournal/Winter_2003/creatingwebpages.htm

  • Seabreeze, J. (1997) “Student Affairs World Wide Web Sites” New Directions for Student Services Vol. 1997, Issue 78, pgs. 97-103

  • Western Cooperative for educational telecommunications (2000) “Guide to Developing Online Student Services” http://wcet.info/Resources/publications/guide/guide.htm


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